Saturday, March 31, 2012

Must have free software.


Filezilla for FTP connections.
ImgBurn for burning ISO’s.
Picasa for managing your photos.
Handbrake for ripping DVD’s
BiTorrent for downloading torrent files.
7-zip for zipping and raring files.
PuTTy for SSH and Telnet connections.
Secuni PSI for keeping your computer updated.
TrueCrypt for encrypting files.
Google Docs for an Office replacement and online storage.
CCleaner for cleaning your PC.
Recuva for restoring deleted files.
WinAmp a music player.
Malwarebyte for Spyware and Malware

Due to the rapid changes of mirrors for this software it is best to google the apps by there name followed by download.

Must have free software.


Filezilla for FTP connections.
ImgBurn for burning ISO’s.
Picasa for managing your photos.
Handbrake for ripping DVD’s
BiTorrent for downloading torrent files.
7-zip for zipping and raring files.
PuTTy for SSH and Telnet connections.
Secuni PSI for keeping your computer updated.
TrueCrypt for encrypting files.
Google Docs for an Office replacement and online storage.
CCleaner for cleaning your PC.
Recuva for restoring deleted files.
WinAmp a music player.
Malwarebyte for Spyware and Malware

Due to the rapid changes of mirrors for this software it is best to google the apps by there name followed by download.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Salt Curing Meat


Salt Curing Meat in Brine
Curing meat by using a salt brine was a widely used method of preserving meat
before the days of refrigeration. This is the way we cured pork in Southern
Alberta, however it would work for beef as well:
 Recipe by Verla Cress (born 1940)
OK - Brine barrel filled half way up with 1 cup salt per 2 gallons of hot water
(that's 32 parts water - 1 part salt), and a bit of vinegar -
OR
BETTER - Brine Barrel filled 1/2 way with 5/8 cup salt & 3/8 cup curing salt per
2 gallons hot water, and a bit of vinegar.
Cut your animal up into ham sized pieces (about 10 - 15 lbs each).
Put the pieces in the brine barrel and let it soak for 6 days. Now that your
meat is salted, remove the meat from the brine, dry it off and put it in flour
or gunny sacks to keep the flies away. Then hang it up in a cool dry place to
dry. It will keep like this for perhaps six weeks if stored in a cool place
during the Summer. Of course, it will keep much longer in the Winter. If it goes
bad, you'll know it!
OR... FURTHER PROCESS IT BY:
Putting it in a brine barrel, filled half way up with 4 cups brown sugar to 3
gallons water - and a bit of vinegar (note: no salt): Inject some of the sugar
brine mixture into the already salted meat with a syringe, then put the meat in
the sugar brine for 3 days.
Remove the meat from the brine and smoke it for 3 days. Now put your smoked meat
into flour or gunny sacks to keep the flies away and hang it up in a cool dry
place to store. Smoked meat preserved like this should keep in the Summer for at
least 4 months if stored in a cool dry place. It will keep much longer in the
Winter, or if refrigerated.


Extract from
            Leslie Basel's
            rec.food.preserving
            FAQs
            Salt, Sugar, Sodium
            Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate.

         
            Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the
            water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make
            food spoil. In general, though, use of the word "cure" refers to
            processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.
            Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are the basis for two commercially
            used products: Prague powders #1 and #2. Prague powder #1 is a
            mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite and 16 parts salt. The chemicals
            are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. Even
            though diluted, only 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to
            cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1
            tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part
            sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. It is
            primarily used in dry-curing.
            One other commonly available curing product is Morton's Tender
            Quick. It is a mixture of salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate and
            sugar. Ask your butcher or grocer to stock it for you.
            [Where can these compounds be obtained?]
            If you are chummy with a local butcher who does curing, maybe (s)he
            will sell you a small quantity. Otherwise, the Sausage Maker offers
            all items mentioned here. The Sausage Maker Inc./ 26 Military Road/
            Buffalo NY 14207. (716)-876-5521.
            © 1996, Leslie Basel

More Detailed Instructions:

This recipe was taken from a tiny home-made recipe book, "Remember Mama's
Recipes." It was put together by the women of the Stirling, Alberta, LDS
congregation back in the 1950's.
Brine Cured Pork
    100 lbs pork
    8 lbs salt             (Note: 1 part salt to 48 parts water)
    2 oz. salt peter
    2 lbs brown sugar
    5 gallons water
Method:
      Mix salt, brown sugar and salt peter, add this to the water and bring the
mixture to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Skim off any scum that may form while
boiling after everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and chill until quite
cold.
      Pack the pieces of meat into clean barrels or earthenware crocks, placing
them as close together as possible. Now pour the cold brine over the meat making
absolute certain the meat is completely covered. Put a board over the meat that
just fits inside the container and place weights on it to make sure that the
meat is emerged in the brine.       When curing larger and smaller pieces of
meat at the same time, place the larger pieces on the bottom and the smaller
ones on top. This is so the smaller ones can be lifted out without disturbing
the larger pieces. The small pieces do not take as long to cure as the bigger
ones.
      The meat should be cured in a temperature that is just above freezing. If
the meat is cured at a warmer temperature the brine may show signs of souring.
If this should happen, remove the meat and soak it in lukewarm water for an hour
or so. Wash the meat in fresh cold water and be sure to throw out the soured
brine. Clean out the container, repack the meat and make a fresh brine in
original proportions.

    Bacon sides and loins require 2 days per pound in this brine.
    Shoulders will take 3 days per pound.
    Hams will take 4 days per pound.
      After the meat is cured the pieces should be soaked in warm water and then
washed in cold water or even scrubbed with a brush to remove any scum that may
have accumulated during the curing process.
      Hang the meat by very heavy cords in the smoke house and allow to drain 24
hours before starting the smoking.
      Hard wood is the best to use for smoking and the temperature in the smoke
house should be 100-120 degrees F. The ventilators should be left open at first
to allow any moisture to escape. Smoke until desired flavor and color is arrived
at.



The Way We Did It...

As told by Glenn Adamson (born 1915)
We never had electricity or an ice house on the farm. Since we had no way of
keeping meat refrigerated, we only killed animals as fast as we ate them.
...Pork was our main staple. It seemed there was always a pig just the right
size to butcher. We ate more meat out on our farm than the typical family eats
now. In the summer, what pork we didn't eat immediately was preserved. When we
butchered a pig, Dad filled a wooden 45 gallon barrel with salt brine. We cut up
the pig into maybe eight pieces and put it in the brine barrel. The pork soaked
in the barrel for several days, then the meat was taken out, and the water was
thrown away. We sacked a shoulder, a side of bacon, or the ham, which was the
rear leg, in a gunny sack or flour sack to keep the flies off. It was then hung
up in the coal house to dry. Quite often we had a ham drying, hanging on the
shady side of the house. In the hot summer days after they had dried, they were
put in the root cellar to keep them cool. The meat was good for eating two or
three months this way. We didn't have a smoke house like some people had. But
what we had worked just fine. In the winter time when we killed something we
didn't have to cure it. We'd hang it outside the house or somewhere else where
it was cold and it kept just fine. (We're talking Canada, here, where it gets
really cold.)
My Uncle George Ovard told me the following story when I was just a kid: He had
put a pig in the brine barrel and when he went to take it out several days later
he only found half of his meat. This puzzled him somewhat, but he never said
anything about it. A couple of days later, one of his neighbors happened to stop
by and mentioned, "I hear someone took some of your pork out of your brine
barrel."
Uncle George said, "Yes, but I didn't tell anyone about it." The guy had trapped
himself right there.


Al Durtschi, E-mail: mark@waltonfeed.com
Home Page: http://waltonfeed.com/
All contents copyright (C) 1996, Al Durtschi.
This information may be used by you freely for non-commercial use with my name
and E-mail address attached.
Revised: 17 Dec 98

Salt Curing Meat


Salt Curing Meat in Brine
Curing meat by using a salt brine was a widely used method of preserving meat
before the days of refrigeration. This is the way we cured pork in Southern
Alberta, however it would work for beef as well:
 Recipe by Verla Cress (born 1940)
OK - Brine barrel filled half way up with 1 cup salt per 2 gallons of hot water
(that's 32 parts water - 1 part salt), and a bit of vinegar -
OR
BETTER - Brine Barrel filled 1/2 way with 5/8 cup salt & 3/8 cup curing salt per
2 gallons hot water, and a bit of vinegar.
Cut your animal up into ham sized pieces (about 10 - 15 lbs each).
Put the pieces in the brine barrel and let it soak for 6 days. Now that your
meat is salted, remove the meat from the brine, dry it off and put it in flour
or gunny sacks to keep the flies away. Then hang it up in a cool dry place to
dry. It will keep like this for perhaps six weeks if stored in a cool place
during the Summer. Of course, it will keep much longer in the Winter. If it goes
bad, you'll know it!
OR... FURTHER PROCESS IT BY:
Putting it in a brine barrel, filled half way up with 4 cups brown sugar to 3
gallons water - and a bit of vinegar (note: no salt): Inject some of the sugar
brine mixture into the already salted meat with a syringe, then put the meat in
the sugar brine for 3 days.
Remove the meat from the brine and smoke it for 3 days. Now put your smoked meat
into flour or gunny sacks to keep the flies away and hang it up in a cool dry
place to store. Smoked meat preserved like this should keep in the Summer for at
least 4 months if stored in a cool dry place. It will keep much longer in the
Winter, or if refrigerated.


Extract from
            Leslie Basel's
            rec.food.preserving
            FAQs
            Salt, Sugar, Sodium
            Nitrite and Sodium Nitrate.

         
            Salt and sugar both cure meat by osmosis. In addition to drawing the
            water from the food, they dehydrate and kill the bacteria that make
            food spoil. In general, though, use of the word "cure" refers to
            processing the meat with either sodium nitrite or sodium nitrate.
            Sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate are the basis for two commercially
            used products: Prague powders #1 and #2. Prague powder #1 is a
            mixture of 1 part sodium nitrite and 16 parts salt. The chemicals
            are combined and crystallized to assure even distribution. Even
            though diluted, only 4 ounces of Prague powder #1 is required to
            cure 100 lbs of meat. A more typical measurement for home use is 1
            tsp per 5 lbs of meat. Prague powder #2 is a mixture of 1 part
            sodium nitrite, .64 parts sodium nitrate and 16 parts salt. It is
            primarily used in dry-curing.
            One other commonly available curing product is Morton's Tender
            Quick. It is a mixture of salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate and
            sugar. Ask your butcher or grocer to stock it for you.
            [Where can these compounds be obtained?]
            If you are chummy with a local butcher who does curing, maybe (s)he
            will sell you a small quantity. Otherwise, the Sausage Maker offers
            all items mentioned here. The Sausage Maker Inc./ 26 Military Road/
            Buffalo NY 14207. (716)-876-5521.
            © 1996, Leslie Basel

More Detailed Instructions:

This recipe was taken from a tiny home-made recipe book, "Remember Mama's
Recipes." It was put together by the women of the Stirling, Alberta, LDS
congregation back in the 1950's.
Brine Cured Pork
    100 lbs pork
    8 lbs salt             (Note: 1 part salt to 48 parts water)
    2 oz. salt peter
    2 lbs brown sugar
    5 gallons water
Method:
      Mix salt, brown sugar and salt peter, add this to the water and bring the
mixture to a boil. Stir to dissolve sugar. Skim off any scum that may form while
boiling after everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and chill until quite
cold.
      Pack the pieces of meat into clean barrels or earthenware crocks, placing
them as close together as possible. Now pour the cold brine over the meat making
absolute certain the meat is completely covered. Put a board over the meat that
just fits inside the container and place weights on it to make sure that the
meat is emerged in the brine.       When curing larger and smaller pieces of
meat at the same time, place the larger pieces on the bottom and the smaller
ones on top. This is so the smaller ones can be lifted out without disturbing
the larger pieces. The small pieces do not take as long to cure as the bigger
ones.
      The meat should be cured in a temperature that is just above freezing. If
the meat is cured at a warmer temperature the brine may show signs of souring.
If this should happen, remove the meat and soak it in lukewarm water for an hour
or so. Wash the meat in fresh cold water and be sure to throw out the soured
brine. Clean out the container, repack the meat and make a fresh brine in
original proportions.

    Bacon sides and loins require 2 days per pound in this brine.
    Shoulders will take 3 days per pound.
    Hams will take 4 days per pound.
      After the meat is cured the pieces should be soaked in warm water and then
washed in cold water or even scrubbed with a brush to remove any scum that may
have accumulated during the curing process.
      Hang the meat by very heavy cords in the smoke house and allow to drain 24
hours before starting the smoking.
      Hard wood is the best to use for smoking and the temperature in the smoke
house should be 100-120 degrees F. The ventilators should be left open at first
to allow any moisture to escape. Smoke until desired flavor and color is arrived
at.



The Way We Did It...

As told by Glenn Adamson (born 1915)
We never had electricity or an ice house on the farm. Since we had no way of
keeping meat refrigerated, we only killed animals as fast as we ate them.
...Pork was our main staple. It seemed there was always a pig just the right
size to butcher. We ate more meat out on our farm than the typical family eats
now. In the summer, what pork we didn't eat immediately was preserved. When we
butchered a pig, Dad filled a wooden 45 gallon barrel with salt brine. We cut up
the pig into maybe eight pieces and put it in the brine barrel. The pork soaked
in the barrel for several days, then the meat was taken out, and the water was
thrown away. We sacked a shoulder, a side of bacon, or the ham, which was the
rear leg, in a gunny sack or flour sack to keep the flies off. It was then hung
up in the coal house to dry. Quite often we had a ham drying, hanging on the
shady side of the house. In the hot summer days after they had dried, they were
put in the root cellar to keep them cool. The meat was good for eating two or
three months this way. We didn't have a smoke house like some people had. But
what we had worked just fine. In the winter time when we killed something we
didn't have to cure it. We'd hang it outside the house or somewhere else where
it was cold and it kept just fine. (We're talking Canada, here, where it gets
really cold.)
My Uncle George Ovard told me the following story when I was just a kid: He had
put a pig in the brine barrel and when he went to take it out several days later
he only found half of his meat. This puzzled him somewhat, but he never said
anything about it. A couple of days later, one of his neighbors happened to stop
by and mentioned, "I hear someone took some of your pork out of your brine
barrel."
Uncle George said, "Yes, but I didn't tell anyone about it." The guy had trapped
himself right there.


Al Durtschi, E-mail: mark@waltonfeed.com
Home Page: http://waltonfeed.com/
All contents copyright (C) 1996, Al Durtschi.
This information may be used by you freely for non-commercial use with my name
and E-mail address attached.
Revised: 17 Dec 98

How to Survive Air Terrorism

1. Travel with an airline that has no or few political enemies.

2. Do not wear Army or ex-Army clothing.

3. Do not carry on your luggage in Army issue bags or rucksacks.

4. If the plane is hijacked, keep quiet and don't draw attention to yourself.

5. Observe the terrorist's activities very carefully. If you do escape, you'll be able to help secure forces.

6. Stay in tourist class. 'Neutral' seating in tourist class is less likely to attract attention than first class. If the terrorists wish to show their determination, they may shoot hostages, and these are likely to have been chosen from passengers who are obviously important.

7. If kept in close quarters with a hijacker, talk about your own and his family. Making yourself a real, normal person in his eyes will be better. Don't talk politics.

8. If you can feign symptoms of sickness and keep it up, you may be released in an interim deal.

9. Don't wear religious or other insignia. The hijackers may not share your beliefs! No T-shirts with political slogans either!

10. Travel in loose, comfortable clothing. If you are hijacked you'll have to keep yourself cool, clean and healthy for some time. Play mind games to keep yourself sane.

11. Don't carry military documents on board. Pack them in your main luggage. If a hijacker finds out you're connected, you'll be singled out for rough treatment.

12. If the aircraft you are on is hijacked the best way to stay alive is not to attract attention. When hijackers make their move, they are looking for opposition. Anyone who looks like they're trying to stop them is likely to be shot.

13. Keep your eyes open, your mouth shut... and don't volunteer for anything!

14. If it looks like you going to die fight back.

Disclaimer: This is for informational purpose. We cannot be held responsible how you use this information.

How to Survive Air Terrorism

1. Travel with an airline that has no or few political enemies.

2. Do not wear Army or ex-Army clothing.

3. Do not carry on your luggage in Army issue bags or rucksacks.

4. If the plane is hijacked, keep quiet and don't draw attention to yourself.

5. Observe the terrorist's activities very carefully. If you do escape, you'll be able to help secure forces.

6. Stay in tourist class. 'Neutral' seating in tourist class is less likely to attract attention than first class. If the terrorists wish to show their determination, they may shoot hostages, and these are likely to have been chosen from passengers who are obviously important.

7. If kept in close quarters with a hijacker, talk about your own and his family. Making yourself a real, normal person in his eyes will be better. Don't talk politics.

8. If you can feign symptoms of sickness and keep it up, you may be released in an interim deal.

9. Don't wear religious or other insignia. The hijackers may not share your beliefs! No T-shirts with political slogans either!

10. Travel in loose, comfortable clothing. If you are hijacked you'll have to keep yourself cool, clean and healthy for some time. Play mind games to keep yourself sane.

11. Don't carry military documents on board. Pack them in your main luggage. If a hijacker finds out you're connected, you'll be singled out for rough treatment.

12. If the aircraft you are on is hijacked the best way to stay alive is not to attract attention. When hijackers make their move, they are looking for opposition. Anyone who looks like they're trying to stop them is likely to be shot.

13. Keep your eyes open, your mouth shut... and don't volunteer for anything!

14. If it looks like you going to die fight back.

Disclaimer: This is for informational purpose. We cannot be held responsible how you use this information.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Family Food Security P4

Grain mill. Many people are learning the advantages of grinding their
own flour or cracking grains to make their own cereals. In the event of
prolonged problems due to Y2K, it is possible that there will be
emergency distributions of whole grains, since processing may be
disrupted by the effects of the Y2K bug. In such a situation, the
ability to grind those whole grains at home will be very important.
While it is possible to improvise a grinder using three small diameter
metal water pipes bound tightly together, this is strictly a third world
human labor technology (lift, pound, grind, lift, pound, grind).
Electric mills are available that also have hand cranks. Metal-burr
mills can be bought cheaply, and are often found at flea markets and
thrift shops.

Hand mixers and choppers, kitchen knives, non-electric can openers.
 Power failure will mean that electric food processors will not be
available (unless you have alternative power). Hand mixers, potato
mashers, and hand crank choppers, which are inexpensive right now, will
be very useful -- especially if you are feeding more people than usual.
Make sure you have a quality set of kitchen knives, as well as the
appropriate sharpening equipment. It's also possible to find DC food
processors, mixers, and blenders that will work on battery power.

Don't forget non-electric can openers. Get extras.

Spice mill, coffee grinder, meat and sausage grinder, pasta maker. These
items can add a lot of quality to your life right now, as well as being
about as useful as it gets in the event of problems in January 2000.

Food preservation tools. Dehydrators, and boiling water and pressure
canners have many uses here and now as well as in any later emergency.
Home processing is the best way to ensure taste, nutrition, and quality
for your family. It opens a world of traditional activity, including the
making of your own jams, jellies, salsas, pickles, saurkrauts, and other
specialty and ethnic food items. (These make wonderful gifts during
holiday seasons.) Home processing is much easier than most people think,
as long as you are able to follow the instructions. Mason jars and lids
are useful, and it's good to have a supply of them on hand in the event
of emergencies.

Dutch oven (cast iron), metal pie and muffin pans, extra oven racks,
large pots, aluminum foil, oven baking bags, cake pans, cooling racks,
trivits. Dutch ovens are practical cooking tools. Metal pie and muffin
pans can be used to improvise camp-stove top or campfire ovens. Large
pots are useful if you find yourself feeding extra guests or helping to
set up a soup kitchen. Extra oven racks can be used over camp fires or
charcoal briquets. Aluminum foil has many uses in an emergency kitchen,
many foods can be cooked in it. Oven baking bags are useful for making
solar ovens. Trivits sit underneath a pot on a cast iron stove and raise
it up a bit, preventing the scorching of the food inside.

Your concerns are to keep the food clean and free of infestations by
rodents or bugs, as well as maintaining its nutritional quality. You
must maintain high standards of hygiene at each stage of this process.

The basic storage drill is quite easy.

Start with good quality products.

For products like rice, beans, flour, dried milk, pasta and etc., open
the original package and fill a large ziplock bag (gallon size), seal
it, and then place that bag inside another ziplock bag. Many people put
a bay leaf inside each bag of beans, grains, or flour. Pack these
ziplock baggies in food grade plastic buckets with airtight lids. This
helps keep the products free from contamination, and if you do have a
"bug outbreak" inside the containers, the ziplock bags help minimize the
contamination.

The warmer and more humid the climate, the more trouble you will have
with weevils and bugs hatching inside the containers. If you generally
have a problem with storing flour on your shelf, freeze the bags for 2
days before putting them in the buckets.

Food grade plastic buckets may be purchased new from local sources and
catalogs. Many people get them for free, or at reduced cost, from
bakeries, donut shops, restaurants, or other users of institutional size
containers of food products. Plastic paint buckets and trash cans are
not food grade plastic and should not be used for this kind of storage.

Canned goods are best bought by the case, and stored in their original
cans and cases. Canned goods have expiration dates, and if the date is
stamped in a code, you can ask at your local grocery store or county
extension office for help in deciphering it. Many companies have a toll
free number on the can for consumer information; such departments can
also give you this information. Dried and canned foods bought in 1999
will still be safe and nutritious to eat well into the year 2000. If a
can is bulging, don't use its contents.

Store all food away from light and at a constant temperature, avoiding
extremes of hot or cold. Garages or attics are not good places to store
food, unless you live in a mild climate. Dry basements are better;
always put food storage containers on shelves or on bricks or boards so
that they aren't stacked on bare concrete. Put a label or sticker on the
buckets that lists the contents and the date they were purchased.

At all stages of the food purchase, storage, preparation and consumption
process, observe good food safety procedures. Wash your hands with soap
and warm water before handling food products. Make sure that any areas
to be used for food packing or preparation are cleaned thoroughly with
soap and water and then rinsed so that no soap residue remains. Use a
sanitizing solution on all preparation or packing surfaces. A sanitizing
solution is 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach in a gallon of water in a
gallon of water for hard surfaces, 3 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon
of water for porous surfaces such as wood, the chapter on Health and
Wellness has complete instructions for this.

Once food has been prepared, hot foods must be kept hot (above 140
degrees Fahrenheit) and cold foods must be kept cold (below 45 degrees
Fahrenheit). Be careful about storing prepared foods in the absence of
refrigeration. If it is winter, use an enclosed porch or unheated room
as a cold room. Put a thermometer in the area and check it several times
a day to make sure it is staying below 45 degrees. Protecting the cold
box from sunlight will help maintain cold temperatures. If it is very
cold -- freezing cold -- food in your freezer can be kept frozen in such
a box in a cold room or outside. During the Montreal ice storm of 1998,
many people had food spoil in their freezer because they didn't think
about keeping their food frozen in a box on their porch.

If the power goes off, you can prolong the life of food in your
refrigerator or freezer by opening them as little as possible and by
providing additional insulation. Wrap the freezer in blankets or
newspapers, and/or stack bags of clothes against the walls or on the
tops. The more insulation the unit has, the longer the items inside will
be safe to eat. Shield it from any direct sunlight, and don't heat that
room. You could buy some rigid board insulation, and use duct tape to
wrap the refrigerator (or an improvised cold box).

Eat the items in the refrigerator first, that same day, even if it makes
for an odd collection of salads, sandwiches, and leftovers. Invite the
neighbors for a Y2K buffet and barbecue (morale and neighborhood
solidarity are always issues in emergencies, so don't discount this as a
rhetorical flourish).

Creamed foods, soft cheeses (cream cheese, cheese spreads, cottage
cheese)gravy, mayonnaise, salad dressings, pork, and poultry spoil
quickly. Dispose of them if they have been in the refrigerator without
power for 12 hours or more. Spoiled foods may not have an offensive
odor, so while the presence of a bad odor is a sure indicator of
spoilage, its absence may not be an assurance of safety. Quickest
spoiling of all are seafood, chopped meat, and poultry sandwich
fillings, which are not safe after 4 hours without refrigeration.

Hard cheeses will often be fine at room temperature. If a surface mold
develops, cut it off and use the rest. So does milk, but sour milk can
be used in baking (corn bread, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, sour dough
starter). Butter will keep for several days, and clarified butter will
keep for months without refrigeration. Clarified butter has the
additional virtue of being low in cholesterol while still imparting that
unique natural butter flavor, it doesn't smoke when used in cooking, and
it is found in the finest gourmet kitchens.

If you keep the door closed, most freezer food will stay below 40
degrees for up to 3 days, even in the summer. A full freezer stays
colder longer than one that is partially full. If you are expecting a
power outage, turn the freezer to its coldest setting several days in
advance of the expected emergency (add this to your last week of
December 1999 checklist). Fill any empty spaces in the refrigerator with
bottles of water (leave 2 inches of empty space in the bottle to allow
for expansion of the ice). The larger the freezer, the longer foods will
stay frozen:

Freezer size time until food spoilage

4 cubic feet 3 days

12 - 36 cubic feet 5 days, and possibly as long as 7 or 8 days

If you plan to intermittently generate power to keep your freezer or
refrigerator cold, you will need a good thermometer. Before an
emergency, experiment with the appliance to determine how much power is
needed each day to keep the food in the freezer frozen.

A second alternative is to preserve freezer foods by pressure canning
(if you have the equipment, jars, and ability to follow directions
exactly). Frozen prepared meals should be eaten right away, as there
isn't a practical way to preserve them in the absence of electricity,
ice, or very cold temperatures outside. Meats can also be made into
jerky, or cooked and dehydrated.

Since Y2K may bring power outages, if you are not equipped to generate
power and you don't expect outside temperatures to remain below 45
degrees, slowly emptying your freezer and refrigerator in December 1999
is a good idea. If nothing happens, you can always restock; if the power
does go off for an extended period of time, you won't lose the
investment you've made in frozen food. Fortunately, December is the
holiday season, so you shouldn't lack for opportunities to prepare and
serve food.

These days many people take short cuts regarding food safety and manage
to not kill themselves or others, but these risks are assumed in the
context of a fully functioning medical system ready to rescue in case
something does go wrong. In an emergency, that medical backup may not be
available, so it becomes imprudent and risky to cut corners with food
safety. Do it by the book, follow the instructions, use a disinfecting
solution liberally in food preparation areas, don't eat questionable
foods or drink unboiled/unpurified water. When in doubt, err on the side
of caution. If the pharmacy is closed, you do not want to deal with
dysentery or intestinal parasites. Even if food is scarce, don't eat
questionable foods. If you are undernourished in general, the last thing
you want is a food-related illness or parasite.

Urban areas grow an amazing variety of food, so foraging may be a viable
alternative, depending on your knowledge of edible wild plants. This
requires a good plant identification guide, or expert personal knowledge
about the subject. Those dandelions in your yard aren't weeds, they
could be lunch, or even wine! So could the nasturtiums and bachelor
buttons and carnations in your flower garden. (You would pay a lot of
money in a fine restaurant for a salad garnished with these flowers.)

The most common form of foraging is fishing. An essential part of your
preparedness plans should be fishing equipment for use in ponds, rivers,
streams, lakes or the ocean. An added advantage of fishing is that time
spent fishing is not deducted from your allotted life span. If fishing
in an urban area, think about what pollutants may be present; check with
local health authorities about eating fish taken from the urban rivers
or lakes in your area.

There are many perennial plants, trees, and shrubs that have attractive
displays of foliage in addition to their food production capabilities. A
local home and garden center, or the county extension office, can offer
advice about appropriate selection and cultivation of such plants in
your area. Many areas have community gardening associations that can
provide everything from free expert advice to seeds and tools. Gardening
offers advantages that include exercise and a closeness with nature that
is often missing from our urban lives. The sweetest asparagus comes from
the perennial patch in your own back yard.

Persons who live in apartments can garden in containers or pots, on
porches, and on roof-tops. Plastic five or six gallon buckets make
excellent containers for growing food. Hydroponics gardening sounds
complicated, but it really isn't, and information is readily available.
It's even possible to raise fish in a barrel or a tank -- it's possible
to raise as much as five tons of trout in a year in tanks in a space the
size of the average basement (20 X 30). An indoor fish farm like this
works well with hydroponics; as the water is changed in the fish tanks,
it is circulated into hydroponics to feed and water the plants.

The community gardening movement, which is well established in all parts
of the country, can provide expert assistance in starting and
maintaining a garden, empowering people to join together to create
community gardens. One city provided land in street medians for such
gardens; vacant lots, church properties, and other open spaces are also
used. During the siege of Sarajevo, seeds were smuggled into the city
and gardens were planted everywhere.

Be sure to store seeds, and get extras.

About 10% of the world's food is already grown in cities. The experience
of cities in crisis suggests that the amount of food actually produced
in a given city can be expanded very rapidly, the limiting factor
usually being seeds. People planted gardens in Sarajevo, even as snipers
fired and shells landed.

In Indonesia, which has experienced major disruptions over the past
year, people in cities have turned athletic fields and golf courses into
gardens. Although cities may have high density populations, there is
also a lot of open space that can be turned into gardens (medians in
streets, parks, lawns of homes and public buildings, roadsides, golf
courses, vacant lots, etc.) Flat roofed buildings can support bucket or
other container gardens, and containers can also be placed on porches,
sidewalks, streets, hillsides, or other areas where regular gardening is
not practical. Old tires (which are in plentiful supply in most cities)
can be turned into containers for growing crops.

Salt cured and smoked country hams will keep without refrigeration, even
after slicing. If a bit of mold develops, simply cut it off. Such hams
should always be cooked before eating. Some people find the taste a bit
salty; recipe books suggest soaking the ham slices in water overnight to
draw out the salt.

Hard cheeses can be preserved by coating of with wax. Dip the cheese
into a salt solution (salty enough that an egg floats) and place on a
rack to dry overnight. On the second day, rub with salt and leave on the
rack. Do this again a third day. By this time a rind should be
developing. If it feels dry and smooth, continue to the waxing; if not,
rub with salt and let dry another day. Apply 3 or 4 coats (either with a
brush, or by dipping into melted wax), letting the wax dry between each
coat. Wrap with cheese cloth, and continue the process of dipping and
drying until several layers later the cheese is completely covered with
a smooth wax exterior. It will continue to age inside, but remain good.
If you do find mold on hard cheese, simply scrape or cut it off and use
the rest of the cheese. Paraffin wax is the best for this.

In situations of food scarcity, fats and oils are often the first foods
to disappear, and we miss them a lot when they're gone. Olive oil stores
virtually indefinitely without refrigeration (keep it cool and dark,
don't refrigerate), and has the advantage of being a healthy choice.
Hydrogenated shortening in a metal can stores for a very long time, but
many people have health concerns about it (although in the author's
opinion shortening is necessary for pie crust!). Note that usually only
the larger sizes (five or six pounds) are sold in metal cans, most of
the smaller 1 and 3 pound cans are a waxed cardboard.

Another alternative is clarified butter. It will keep indefinitely
without refrigeration, and is easily made at home. Put butter in a pan
(do about five pounds at a time), and melt it slowly over low heat.
After the butter melts, allow it to boil slowly until the solids collect
together in the bottom of the pan. The butter oil will be clear and
golden. Sometimes a bit of scum floats up to the top; skim that off.
Ladle off the clarified butter, leaving the solids in the bottom of the
pan (you can pour the remaining bits of butter oil and solids through a
cheese cloth to extract all the butter and leave all the solids behind).

Pour into a clean mason jar (boil the jar and lids for 10 minutes, and
leave covered with hot water until you are ready to fill with the hot
butter oil. Cap tightly and store in a cool and dark place (if your
pantry has a window, put the jars in paper bags). If you have lard, you
can clarify it by this same method. For both lard and butter, clarifying
greatly reduces the cholesterol content of the food without compromising
taste. When substituting clarified butter for regular butter or
margarine in a recipe, reduce the amount needed by about 20%.

Generally, salt cured/smoked country ham, olive oil, clarified butter,
and cheese are not considered second class foods. All are used in
gourmet cooking and are important basic ingredients in many recipes..

Family Food Security P4

Grain mill. Many people are learning the advantages of grinding their
own flour or cracking grains to make their own cereals. In the event of
prolonged problems due to Y2K, it is possible that there will be
emergency distributions of whole grains, since processing may be
disrupted by the effects of the Y2K bug. In such a situation, the
ability to grind those whole grains at home will be very important.
While it is possible to improvise a grinder using three small diameter
metal water pipes bound tightly together, this is strictly a third world
human labor technology (lift, pound, grind, lift, pound, grind).
Electric mills are available that also have hand cranks. Metal-burr
mills can be bought cheaply, and are often found at flea markets and
thrift shops.

Hand mixers and choppers, kitchen knives, non-electric can openers.
 Power failure will mean that electric food processors will not be
available (unless you have alternative power). Hand mixers, potato
mashers, and hand crank choppers, which are inexpensive right now, will
be very useful -- especially if you are feeding more people than usual.
Make sure you have a quality set of kitchen knives, as well as the
appropriate sharpening equipment. It's also possible to find DC food
processors, mixers, and blenders that will work on battery power.

Don't forget non-electric can openers. Get extras.

Spice mill, coffee grinder, meat and sausage grinder, pasta maker. These
items can add a lot of quality to your life right now, as well as being
about as useful as it gets in the event of problems in January 2000.

Food preservation tools. Dehydrators, and boiling water and pressure
canners have many uses here and now as well as in any later emergency.
Home processing is the best way to ensure taste, nutrition, and quality
for your family. It opens a world of traditional activity, including the
making of your own jams, jellies, salsas, pickles, saurkrauts, and other
specialty and ethnic food items. (These make wonderful gifts during
holiday seasons.) Home processing is much easier than most people think,
as long as you are able to follow the instructions. Mason jars and lids
are useful, and it's good to have a supply of them on hand in the event
of emergencies.

Dutch oven (cast iron), metal pie and muffin pans, extra oven racks,
large pots, aluminum foil, oven baking bags, cake pans, cooling racks,
trivits. Dutch ovens are practical cooking tools. Metal pie and muffin
pans can be used to improvise camp-stove top or campfire ovens. Large
pots are useful if you find yourself feeding extra guests or helping to
set up a soup kitchen. Extra oven racks can be used over camp fires or
charcoal briquets. Aluminum foil has many uses in an emergency kitchen,
many foods can be cooked in it. Oven baking bags are useful for making
solar ovens. Trivits sit underneath a pot on a cast iron stove and raise
it up a bit, preventing the scorching of the food inside.

Your concerns are to keep the food clean and free of infestations by
rodents or bugs, as well as maintaining its nutritional quality. You
must maintain high standards of hygiene at each stage of this process.

The basic storage drill is quite easy.

Start with good quality products.

For products like rice, beans, flour, dried milk, pasta and etc., open
the original package and fill a large ziplock bag (gallon size), seal
it, and then place that bag inside another ziplock bag. Many people put
a bay leaf inside each bag of beans, grains, or flour. Pack these
ziplock baggies in food grade plastic buckets with airtight lids. This
helps keep the products free from contamination, and if you do have a
"bug outbreak" inside the containers, the ziplock bags help minimize the
contamination.

The warmer and more humid the climate, the more trouble you will have
with weevils and bugs hatching inside the containers. If you generally
have a problem with storing flour on your shelf, freeze the bags for 2
days before putting them in the buckets.

Food grade plastic buckets may be purchased new from local sources and
catalogs. Many people get them for free, or at reduced cost, from
bakeries, donut shops, restaurants, or other users of institutional size
containers of food products. Plastic paint buckets and trash cans are
not food grade plastic and should not be used for this kind of storage.

Canned goods are best bought by the case, and stored in their original
cans and cases. Canned goods have expiration dates, and if the date is
stamped in a code, you can ask at your local grocery store or county
extension office for help in deciphering it. Many companies have a toll
free number on the can for consumer information; such departments can
also give you this information. Dried and canned foods bought in 1999
will still be safe and nutritious to eat well into the year 2000. If a
can is bulging, don't use its contents.

Store all food away from light and at a constant temperature, avoiding
extremes of hot or cold. Garages or attics are not good places to store
food, unless you live in a mild climate. Dry basements are better;
always put food storage containers on shelves or on bricks or boards so
that they aren't stacked on bare concrete. Put a label or sticker on the
buckets that lists the contents and the date they were purchased.

At all stages of the food purchase, storage, preparation and consumption
process, observe good food safety procedures. Wash your hands with soap
and warm water before handling food products. Make sure that any areas
to be used for food packing or preparation are cleaned thoroughly with
soap and water and then rinsed so that no soap residue remains. Use a
sanitizing solution on all preparation or packing surfaces. A sanitizing
solution is 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach in a gallon of water in a
gallon of water for hard surfaces, 3 tablespoons of bleach in a gallon
of water for porous surfaces such as wood, the chapter on Health and
Wellness has complete instructions for this.

Once food has been prepared, hot foods must be kept hot (above 140
degrees Fahrenheit) and cold foods must be kept cold (below 45 degrees
Fahrenheit). Be careful about storing prepared foods in the absence of
refrigeration. If it is winter, use an enclosed porch or unheated room
as a cold room. Put a thermometer in the area and check it several times
a day to make sure it is staying below 45 degrees. Protecting the cold
box from sunlight will help maintain cold temperatures. If it is very
cold -- freezing cold -- food in your freezer can be kept frozen in such
a box in a cold room or outside. During the Montreal ice storm of 1998,
many people had food spoil in their freezer because they didn't think
about keeping their food frozen in a box on their porch.

If the power goes off, you can prolong the life of food in your
refrigerator or freezer by opening them as little as possible and by
providing additional insulation. Wrap the freezer in blankets or
newspapers, and/or stack bags of clothes against the walls or on the
tops. The more insulation the unit has, the longer the items inside will
be safe to eat. Shield it from any direct sunlight, and don't heat that
room. You could buy some rigid board insulation, and use duct tape to
wrap the refrigerator (or an improvised cold box).

Eat the items in the refrigerator first, that same day, even if it makes
for an odd collection of salads, sandwiches, and leftovers. Invite the
neighbors for a Y2K buffet and barbecue (morale and neighborhood
solidarity are always issues in emergencies, so don't discount this as a
rhetorical flourish).

Creamed foods, soft cheeses (cream cheese, cheese spreads, cottage
cheese)gravy, mayonnaise, salad dressings, pork, and poultry spoil
quickly. Dispose of them if they have been in the refrigerator without
power for 12 hours or more. Spoiled foods may not have an offensive
odor, so while the presence of a bad odor is a sure indicator of
spoilage, its absence may not be an assurance of safety. Quickest
spoiling of all are seafood, chopped meat, and poultry sandwich
fillings, which are not safe after 4 hours without refrigeration.

Hard cheeses will often be fine at room temperature. If a surface mold
develops, cut it off and use the rest. So does milk, but sour milk can
be used in baking (corn bread, pancakes, waffles, biscuits, sour dough
starter). Butter will keep for several days, and clarified butter will
keep for months without refrigeration. Clarified butter has the
additional virtue of being low in cholesterol while still imparting that
unique natural butter flavor, it doesn't smoke when used in cooking, and
it is found in the finest gourmet kitchens.

If you keep the door closed, most freezer food will stay below 40
degrees for up to 3 days, even in the summer. A full freezer stays
colder longer than one that is partially full. If you are expecting a
power outage, turn the freezer to its coldest setting several days in
advance of the expected emergency (add this to your last week of
December 1999 checklist). Fill any empty spaces in the refrigerator with
bottles of water (leave 2 inches of empty space in the bottle to allow
for expansion of the ice). The larger the freezer, the longer foods will
stay frozen:

Freezer size time until food spoilage

4 cubic feet 3 days

12 - 36 cubic feet 5 days, and possibly as long as 7 or 8 days

If you plan to intermittently generate power to keep your freezer or
refrigerator cold, you will need a good thermometer. Before an
emergency, experiment with the appliance to determine how much power is
needed each day to keep the food in the freezer frozen.

A second alternative is to preserve freezer foods by pressure canning
(if you have the equipment, jars, and ability to follow directions
exactly). Frozen prepared meals should be eaten right away, as there
isn't a practical way to preserve them in the absence of electricity,
ice, or very cold temperatures outside. Meats can also be made into
jerky, or cooked and dehydrated.

Since Y2K may bring power outages, if you are not equipped to generate
power and you don't expect outside temperatures to remain below 45
degrees, slowly emptying your freezer and refrigerator in December 1999
is a good idea. If nothing happens, you can always restock; if the power
does go off for an extended period of time, you won't lose the
investment you've made in frozen food. Fortunately, December is the
holiday season, so you shouldn't lack for opportunities to prepare and
serve food.

These days many people take short cuts regarding food safety and manage
to not kill themselves or others, but these risks are assumed in the
context of a fully functioning medical system ready to rescue in case
something does go wrong. In an emergency, that medical backup may not be
available, so it becomes imprudent and risky to cut corners with food
safety. Do it by the book, follow the instructions, use a disinfecting
solution liberally in food preparation areas, don't eat questionable
foods or drink unboiled/unpurified water. When in doubt, err on the side
of caution. If the pharmacy is closed, you do not want to deal with
dysentery or intestinal parasites. Even if food is scarce, don't eat
questionable foods. If you are undernourished in general, the last thing
you want is a food-related illness or parasite.

Urban areas grow an amazing variety of food, so foraging may be a viable
alternative, depending on your knowledge of edible wild plants. This
requires a good plant identification guide, or expert personal knowledge
about the subject. Those dandelions in your yard aren't weeds, they
could be lunch, or even wine! So could the nasturtiums and bachelor
buttons and carnations in your flower garden. (You would pay a lot of
money in a fine restaurant for a salad garnished with these flowers.)

The most common form of foraging is fishing. An essential part of your
preparedness plans should be fishing equipment for use in ponds, rivers,
streams, lakes or the ocean. An added advantage of fishing is that time
spent fishing is not deducted from your allotted life span. If fishing
in an urban area, think about what pollutants may be present; check with
local health authorities about eating fish taken from the urban rivers
or lakes in your area.

There are many perennial plants, trees, and shrubs that have attractive
displays of foliage in addition to their food production capabilities. A
local home and garden center, or the county extension office, can offer
advice about appropriate selection and cultivation of such plants in
your area. Many areas have community gardening associations that can
provide everything from free expert advice to seeds and tools. Gardening
offers advantages that include exercise and a closeness with nature that
is often missing from our urban lives. The sweetest asparagus comes from
the perennial patch in your own back yard.

Persons who live in apartments can garden in containers or pots, on
porches, and on roof-tops. Plastic five or six gallon buckets make
excellent containers for growing food. Hydroponics gardening sounds
complicated, but it really isn't, and information is readily available.
It's even possible to raise fish in a barrel or a tank -- it's possible
to raise as much as five tons of trout in a year in tanks in a space the
size of the average basement (20 X 30). An indoor fish farm like this
works well with hydroponics; as the water is changed in the fish tanks,
it is circulated into hydroponics to feed and water the plants.

The community gardening movement, which is well established in all parts
of the country, can provide expert assistance in starting and
maintaining a garden, empowering people to join together to create
community gardens. One city provided land in street medians for such
gardens; vacant lots, church properties, and other open spaces are also
used. During the siege of Sarajevo, seeds were smuggled into the city
and gardens were planted everywhere.

Be sure to store seeds, and get extras.

About 10% of the world's food is already grown in cities. The experience
of cities in crisis suggests that the amount of food actually produced
in a given city can be expanded very rapidly, the limiting factor
usually being seeds. People planted gardens in Sarajevo, even as snipers
fired and shells landed.

In Indonesia, which has experienced major disruptions over the past
year, people in cities have turned athletic fields and golf courses into
gardens. Although cities may have high density populations, there is
also a lot of open space that can be turned into gardens (medians in
streets, parks, lawns of homes and public buildings, roadsides, golf
courses, vacant lots, etc.) Flat roofed buildings can support bucket or
other container gardens, and containers can also be placed on porches,
sidewalks, streets, hillsides, or other areas where regular gardening is
not practical. Old tires (which are in plentiful supply in most cities)
can be turned into containers for growing crops.

Salt cured and smoked country hams will keep without refrigeration, even
after slicing. If a bit of mold develops, simply cut it off. Such hams
should always be cooked before eating. Some people find the taste a bit
salty; recipe books suggest soaking the ham slices in water overnight to
draw out the salt.

Hard cheeses can be preserved by coating of with wax. Dip the cheese
into a salt solution (salty enough that an egg floats) and place on a
rack to dry overnight. On the second day, rub with salt and leave on the
rack. Do this again a third day. By this time a rind should be
developing. If it feels dry and smooth, continue to the waxing; if not,
rub with salt and let dry another day. Apply 3 or 4 coats (either with a
brush, or by dipping into melted wax), letting the wax dry between each
coat. Wrap with cheese cloth, and continue the process of dipping and
drying until several layers later the cheese is completely covered with
a smooth wax exterior. It will continue to age inside, but remain good.
If you do find mold on hard cheese, simply scrape or cut it off and use
the rest of the cheese. Paraffin wax is the best for this.

In situations of food scarcity, fats and oils are often the first foods
to disappear, and we miss them a lot when they're gone. Olive oil stores
virtually indefinitely without refrigeration (keep it cool and dark,
don't refrigerate), and has the advantage of being a healthy choice.
Hydrogenated shortening in a metal can stores for a very long time, but
many people have health concerns about it (although in the author's
opinion shortening is necessary for pie crust!). Note that usually only
the larger sizes (five or six pounds) are sold in metal cans, most of
the smaller 1 and 3 pound cans are a waxed cardboard.

Another alternative is clarified butter. It will keep indefinitely
without refrigeration, and is easily made at home. Put butter in a pan
(do about five pounds at a time), and melt it slowly over low heat.
After the butter melts, allow it to boil slowly until the solids collect
together in the bottom of the pan. The butter oil will be clear and
golden. Sometimes a bit of scum floats up to the top; skim that off.
Ladle off the clarified butter, leaving the solids in the bottom of the
pan (you can pour the remaining bits of butter oil and solids through a
cheese cloth to extract all the butter and leave all the solids behind).

Pour into a clean mason jar (boil the jar and lids for 10 minutes, and
leave covered with hot water until you are ready to fill with the hot
butter oil. Cap tightly and store in a cool and dark place (if your
pantry has a window, put the jars in paper bags). If you have lard, you
can clarify it by this same method. For both lard and butter, clarifying
greatly reduces the cholesterol content of the food without compromising
taste. When substituting clarified butter for regular butter or
margarine in a recipe, reduce the amount needed by about 20%.

Generally, salt cured/smoked country ham, olive oil, clarified butter,
and cheese are not considered second class foods. All are used in
gourmet cooking and are important basic ingredients in many recipes..

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Canning Hamburger


Jars of canned butter &; hamburger rocks.    

"Hamburger Rocks" are small chunks of cooked, dehydrated, fresh beef. They will store effectively for two or more years. Once rehydrated by soaking one cup of rocks in two cups of boiled water, the pre-cooked meat can be used in any recipe. It is delicious for tacos, spaghetti sauce, hamburger helper, tamale pie, lasagna, or your favorite recipe. It is very difficult to distinguish from fresh hamburger in a meal!

Regular ground hamburger turns into small "rocks," some "gravel," and a little "sand" when dried. Miles grinds rump roast and pot roast in a #2 Universal meat chopper using the 3-bladed cutter, and now we get almost all "rocks," very little gravel, and virtually no "sand." And the yield is higher too, as there is not as much fat to melt away. Still, be prepared to cry when you make the first batch, as 6 pounds of perfectly good roast will dehydrate into only one (1) quart of hamburger rocks!

RECIPE FOR HAMBURGER ROCKS

1.Using a large skillet (cast iron is great), brown and fry 5 pounds of ground beef. When thoroughly cooked, transfer the meat to a colander. Rinse under hot running water to remove the fat. Then clean the skillet with paper towels to remove excess fat from the first cooking.

2.Place the washed meat back into the wiped skillet and fry it again over medium/low heat, stirring often until you see no more steam. Keep the heat/flame low once the rocks are browning up nicely.

3.Place the "twice cooked" rocks into an oven roasting pan. Turn the oven to 200 degrees F, stirring and turning occasionally as the meat continues to dry. One to two hours should finish the job. Remove from the oven and check for dryness. When cool, pack into zip lock bags or mason jars. Pack tightly, expelling as much air as possible. Store in pantry drawers or shelves.

Tip: Don't forget to buy and use mouse traps in your larder. Mice will make mince meat out of packaged foods before the uninvited house pests are even noticed by the family cat! Glass jars are the safest method of mouse-proof storage. Storing zip lock bags in heavy food grade 5 gallon buckets is the next safest alternative.

Canning Hamburger


Jars of canned butter &; hamburger rocks.    

"Hamburger Rocks" are small chunks of cooked, dehydrated, fresh beef. They will store effectively for two or more years. Once rehydrated by soaking one cup of rocks in two cups of boiled water, the pre-cooked meat can be used in any recipe. It is delicious for tacos, spaghetti sauce, hamburger helper, tamale pie, lasagna, or your favorite recipe. It is very difficult to distinguish from fresh hamburger in a meal!

Regular ground hamburger turns into small "rocks," some "gravel," and a little "sand" when dried. Miles grinds rump roast and pot roast in a #2 Universal meat chopper using the 3-bladed cutter, and now we get almost all "rocks," very little gravel, and virtually no "sand." And the yield is higher too, as there is not as much fat to melt away. Still, be prepared to cry when you make the first batch, as 6 pounds of perfectly good roast will dehydrate into only one (1) quart of hamburger rocks!

RECIPE FOR HAMBURGER ROCKS

1.Using a large skillet (cast iron is great), brown and fry 5 pounds of ground beef. When thoroughly cooked, transfer the meat to a colander. Rinse under hot running water to remove the fat. Then clean the skillet with paper towels to remove excess fat from the first cooking.

2.Place the washed meat back into the wiped skillet and fry it again over medium/low heat, stirring often until you see no more steam. Keep the heat/flame low once the rocks are browning up nicely.

3.Place the "twice cooked" rocks into an oven roasting pan. Turn the oven to 200 degrees F, stirring and turning occasionally as the meat continues to dry. One to two hours should finish the job. Remove from the oven and check for dryness. When cool, pack into zip lock bags or mason jars. Pack tightly, expelling as much air as possible. Store in pantry drawers or shelves.

Tip: Don't forget to buy and use mouse traps in your larder. Mice will make mince meat out of packaged foods before the uninvited house pests are even noticed by the family cat! Glass jars are the safest method of mouse-proof storage. Storing zip lock bags in heavy food grade 5 gallon buckets is the next safest alternative.

Family Food Security P3


For emergency camp stove cooking inside a house, the preferred choice is
the propane camp stove -- with proper ventilation. Place it right in
front of a window open at least one inch. Coleman fuel stoves are not
recommended for indoor use, although they would be fine outside, on a
porch, in a garage, or other well-ventilated place. Most propane camp
stoves run on one pound disposable cylinders; if you are cooking three
meals a day, you can probably get 3 or 4 days cooking out of each
cylinder, depending on what's on the menu. While it's possible to bake
biscuits on top of a camp stove (you usually will have to flip them to
get them to brown on top), it is better to buy a camp oven that sits on
top of the propane burners. These are sold in camping supply stores or
departments.

Buy an attachment for the propane camp stove that will allow you to cook
on it while using a bulk propane tank (such as a 20 lb, 5 gallon tank)
for fuel. These stoves are cheap enough that you could buy three or four
and thus be able to do a lot of cooking, while also having one or two
that you could loan to a neighbor in distress.

Remember that a blue flame is the cleanest burning flame, so adjust the
flame so it burns blue.

(1) Place a heat diffuser on top of the burner(s). This could be a large
cast iron skillet or grill, or a cookie sheet.

(2) Put something on top of this to raise the cooking pan up off the
heat diffuser and allow air to circulate underneath the pan. This could
be a low cake pan, or a couple of empty tuna cans.

(3) Put the food to be baked in a covered pan on top of the "risers".

(4) Make a tent from several layers of aluminum foil over the cake pan,
so that air can circulate underneath it, and put a small vent hole in
the top of the aluminum foil cover. Keep an eye on the food as it is
baking.

RV's, campers, and mobile homes are often equipped with kitchen stoves
that burn propane. A natural gas stove can be converted to propane by
adjusting the natural gas jet orifices to burn propane (in some cases
they will need to be replaced). Propane companies will often do this
conversion for free. I found a company here in Oklahoma City that
charges $40 for the conversion. Other sources for propane stoves are RV
and mobile home distributorships and suppliers. Never try to run a
natural gas appliance with propane gas without such a conversion; the
natural gas jets are much larger than the propane jets.

A chafing dish consists of: (1) a stand that supports a pot, (2) a heat
source, which is usually cannister of a jelled cooking fuel that is sold
specifically for chafing dishes; typically, this sits on a little
platform in the middle of the stand, (3) a pan for water, (4) a cooking
or warming pan that can sit either directly over the flame or over the
pan of water. A fondue pot is a type of chafing dish with the heat
applied directly to the pot.

For chafing dish fuel, there are multiple options. Sam's Club sells
"Safe-Heat" brand canned fuel for chafing dishes, a dozen to the case,
each can burns six hours, 72 hours of cooking for about twelve dollars.
Candles and denatured alcohol burners are other alternatives, although
alcohol burns very fast, and candles cook slowly. Chafing dishes come in
many sizes. The small stand that supports the chafing dish can be used
with a skillet or omelet pan, or a pot for soup or stew. You can often
find small chafing dish stands that are made for use with a candle at
thrift stores; they will support a small pot. These can be used for
warming canned foods (chili, pasta and sauce, ravioli, soup, etc.) It
takes a half hour to an hour to heat a can of food using a small candle,
depending on how hot you want it. Oatmeal could also be made this way,
especially the instant oatmeals (or instant grits, depending on what
part of the country you hail from).

Woks work well with the chafing dish fuel canisters such as Safe-Heat.

You can make a wide variety of recipes in a chafing dish: griddle cakes,
eggs benedict, salmon cakes, creamed dried beef, crab meat bisque,
chicken a la king, stew, soup, macaroni and cheese, Swedish meatballs,
etc. Very useful in the event of either setting up for a party buffet or
getting through utility problems in January 2000. Even if the
electricity and natural gas are disrupted, you can still enjoy a gourmet
meal, prepared at the table, served by candle light.

Solar cookers can be made with cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, duct
tape, and glass. Such ovens can easily get to 350 degrees, hot enough to
bake meats and casseroles. You can easily make one. There are several
books on the subject, one that comes well recommended is Cooking with
the Sun, by Beth and Dan Halacy, with complete plans for different
designs.

A solar cooker works by (1) absorbing solar heat in a dark pot through a
clear transparent cover such as glass or an oven baking bag, (2)
insulating the pot so that the heat does not radiate out but rather
cooks the food, and (3) they usually have some way to reflect additional
sunlite onto the pot via a panel of reflective material. Any recipe
suitable for a crockpot will generally work in a solar cooker.

One of the easiest solar cookers to make is the "two box model". Glue
aluminum foil to the inside of two boxes, one a bit larger than the
other. The smaller box is placed inside the larger. It's not necessary
to use insulation between the two boxes, as long as there is at least a
half inch air space between the two.

The smaller box should be just larger than the pot that will be used in
the cooker. Slit it at the four corners (down to the height of the pot)
so that its sides will fold out, and duck tape them to the sides of the
larger box. Make a tight fitting lid for the outer box, and cut a large
hole in the center of the lid so that sunlight covers the smaller box.
Glue an oven baking bag to the inside of that lid, completely covering
the sun opening. A second piece of cardboard (the size of the lid) is
covered with aluminum foil and attached to the side of the box so it
reflects sun down onto the box.

To cook food, place a covered pot inside the smaller box and put the lid
on the larger box; face the box toward the sun. Position the reflector
to direct more sunlight down onto the box. It will get 300 to 350
degrees inside. Start your dinner in the morning; eat it at night. Use
an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature.

You can make an improvised non-electric crock pot with an ordinary box,
or a five or six gallon plastic bucket. Line the inside with aluminum
foil, and put several inches of insulating material on the bottom. Bring
the food you are cooking (generally, crockpot recipes) to a boil, cover
the pot and put it in the container. Pack the spaces between the pot and
the sides of the box or bucket with insulating material (whatever is
handy, crushed newspapers, cloth, straw, sawdust, etc.) Pack the top of
the box or bucket with insulating material, and put the lid on. Let this
sit for several hours or overnight (depending on the crock pot cooking
time).

A wood stove not only can keep your family warm, you can cook on top of
it, using a pot or a frying pan. With some bricks, you can make a stand
for a pot in an open fireplace, and Dutch ovens can be cooked in fires
built outside in the yard or in the fireplace. Dutch oven cooking is an
art in and of itself, and there are many good sources for recipes and
instructions. A good place to start is with materials prepared for use
in Scouting, or the cookbook and camping sections of your local library.
Charcoal briquets can be used with your cast iron skillets, Dutch oven,
and other pots and pans, but such cooking must be done outside.

The outdoor barbecue grill is an obvious outdoor stove, but if you don't
have one, it can be built. Many families are building outdoor bread
ovens in the traditional European style. This is a backyard project
accessible by most people, and plans can be found in most major
libraries.

Coffee can cooking. Layer food in a coffee can (such as onions,
potatoes, carrots, meat, repeated ). Cover with heavy duty aluminum
foil, place on medium-hot coals, put some coals on top of the foil, cook
for about a half hour or 45 minutes.

Pie-pan oven. Grease a metal pie pan and put biscuits or bread into it.
Grease a second metal pie pan and place it over the first. Use 4 metal
clamps (the kind you use with paper) to hold them together. Put some
coals on top of the pan. If doing this on a camp stove, instead of a
campfire, use the procedure described above in "baking on a camp stove".

Muffin pan oven. Take a metal muffin pan, and either grease the cups or
line them with cupcake liners. Put different foods into the cups --
meats, vegetables, biscuits of muffin batter. Oil the second pan, fit it
over the first and clamp them together using four big clamps (the kind
you use for paper). Cook for 25 to 35 minutes. This can be used over a
campfire; put some coals on top of the muffin pan as well as underneath.
If you are doing this over a camp stove, use the procedure described
above in "baking on a camp stove".

Family Food Security P3


For emergency camp stove cooking inside a house, the preferred choice is
the propane camp stove -- with proper ventilation. Place it right in
front of a window open at least one inch. Coleman fuel stoves are not
recommended for indoor use, although they would be fine outside, on a
porch, in a garage, or other well-ventilated place. Most propane camp
stoves run on one pound disposable cylinders; if you are cooking three
meals a day, you can probably get 3 or 4 days cooking out of each
cylinder, depending on what's on the menu. While it's possible to bake
biscuits on top of a camp stove (you usually will have to flip them to
get them to brown on top), it is better to buy a camp oven that sits on
top of the propane burners. These are sold in camping supply stores or
departments.

Buy an attachment for the propane camp stove that will allow you to cook
on it while using a bulk propane tank (such as a 20 lb, 5 gallon tank)
for fuel. These stoves are cheap enough that you could buy three or four
and thus be able to do a lot of cooking, while also having one or two
that you could loan to a neighbor in distress.

Remember that a blue flame is the cleanest burning flame, so adjust the
flame so it burns blue.

(1) Place a heat diffuser on top of the burner(s). This could be a large
cast iron skillet or grill, or a cookie sheet.

(2) Put something on top of this to raise the cooking pan up off the
heat diffuser and allow air to circulate underneath the pan. This could
be a low cake pan, or a couple of empty tuna cans.

(3) Put the food to be baked in a covered pan on top of the "risers".

(4) Make a tent from several layers of aluminum foil over the cake pan,
so that air can circulate underneath it, and put a small vent hole in
the top of the aluminum foil cover. Keep an eye on the food as it is
baking.

RV's, campers, and mobile homes are often equipped with kitchen stoves
that burn propane. A natural gas stove can be converted to propane by
adjusting the natural gas jet orifices to burn propane (in some cases
they will need to be replaced). Propane companies will often do this
conversion for free. I found a company here in Oklahoma City that
charges $40 for the conversion. Other sources for propane stoves are RV
and mobile home distributorships and suppliers. Never try to run a
natural gas appliance with propane gas without such a conversion; the
natural gas jets are much larger than the propane jets.

A chafing dish consists of: (1) a stand that supports a pot, (2) a heat
source, which is usually cannister of a jelled cooking fuel that is sold
specifically for chafing dishes; typically, this sits on a little
platform in the middle of the stand, (3) a pan for water, (4) a cooking
or warming pan that can sit either directly over the flame or over the
pan of water. A fondue pot is a type of chafing dish with the heat
applied directly to the pot.

For chafing dish fuel, there are multiple options. Sam's Club sells
"Safe-Heat" brand canned fuel for chafing dishes, a dozen to the case,
each can burns six hours, 72 hours of cooking for about twelve dollars.
Candles and denatured alcohol burners are other alternatives, although
alcohol burns very fast, and candles cook slowly. Chafing dishes come in
many sizes. The small stand that supports the chafing dish can be used
with a skillet or omelet pan, or a pot for soup or stew. You can often
find small chafing dish stands that are made for use with a candle at
thrift stores; they will support a small pot. These can be used for
warming canned foods (chili, pasta and sauce, ravioli, soup, etc.) It
takes a half hour to an hour to heat a can of food using a small candle,
depending on how hot you want it. Oatmeal could also be made this way,
especially the instant oatmeals (or instant grits, depending on what
part of the country you hail from).

Woks work well with the chafing dish fuel canisters such as Safe-Heat.

You can make a wide variety of recipes in a chafing dish: griddle cakes,
eggs benedict, salmon cakes, creamed dried beef, crab meat bisque,
chicken a la king, stew, soup, macaroni and cheese, Swedish meatballs,
etc. Very useful in the event of either setting up for a party buffet or
getting through utility problems in January 2000. Even if the
electricity and natural gas are disrupted, you can still enjoy a gourmet
meal, prepared at the table, served by candle light.

Solar cookers can be made with cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, duct
tape, and glass. Such ovens can easily get to 350 degrees, hot enough to
bake meats and casseroles. You can easily make one. There are several
books on the subject, one that comes well recommended is Cooking with
the Sun, by Beth and Dan Halacy, with complete plans for different
designs.

A solar cooker works by (1) absorbing solar heat in a dark pot through a
clear transparent cover such as glass or an oven baking bag, (2)
insulating the pot so that the heat does not radiate out but rather
cooks the food, and (3) they usually have some way to reflect additional
sunlite onto the pot via a panel of reflective material. Any recipe
suitable for a crockpot will generally work in a solar cooker.

One of the easiest solar cookers to make is the "two box model". Glue
aluminum foil to the inside of two boxes, one a bit larger than the
other. The smaller box is placed inside the larger. It's not necessary
to use insulation between the two boxes, as long as there is at least a
half inch air space between the two.

The smaller box should be just larger than the pot that will be used in
the cooker. Slit it at the four corners (down to the height of the pot)
so that its sides will fold out, and duck tape them to the sides of the
larger box. Make a tight fitting lid for the outer box, and cut a large
hole in the center of the lid so that sunlight covers the smaller box.
Glue an oven baking bag to the inside of that lid, completely covering
the sun opening. A second piece of cardboard (the size of the lid) is
covered with aluminum foil and attached to the side of the box so it
reflects sun down onto the box.

To cook food, place a covered pot inside the smaller box and put the lid
on the larger box; face the box toward the sun. Position the reflector
to direct more sunlight down onto the box. It will get 300 to 350
degrees inside. Start your dinner in the morning; eat it at night. Use
an oven thermometer to monitor the temperature.

You can make an improvised non-electric crock pot with an ordinary box,
or a five or six gallon plastic bucket. Line the inside with aluminum
foil, and put several inches of insulating material on the bottom. Bring
the food you are cooking (generally, crockpot recipes) to a boil, cover
the pot and put it in the container. Pack the spaces between the pot and
the sides of the box or bucket with insulating material (whatever is
handy, crushed newspapers, cloth, straw, sawdust, etc.) Pack the top of
the box or bucket with insulating material, and put the lid on. Let this
sit for several hours or overnight (depending on the crock pot cooking
time).

A wood stove not only can keep your family warm, you can cook on top of
it, using a pot or a frying pan. With some bricks, you can make a stand
for a pot in an open fireplace, and Dutch ovens can be cooked in fires
built outside in the yard or in the fireplace. Dutch oven cooking is an
art in and of itself, and there are many good sources for recipes and
instructions. A good place to start is with materials prepared for use
in Scouting, or the cookbook and camping sections of your local library.
Charcoal briquets can be used with your cast iron skillets, Dutch oven,
and other pots and pans, but such cooking must be done outside.

The outdoor barbecue grill is an obvious outdoor stove, but if you don't
have one, it can be built. Many families are building outdoor bread
ovens in the traditional European style. This is a backyard project
accessible by most people, and plans can be found in most major
libraries.

Coffee can cooking. Layer food in a coffee can (such as onions,
potatoes, carrots, meat, repeated ). Cover with heavy duty aluminum
foil, place on medium-hot coals, put some coals on top of the foil, cook
for about a half hour or 45 minutes.

Pie-pan oven. Grease a metal pie pan and put biscuits or bread into it.
Grease a second metal pie pan and place it over the first. Use 4 metal
clamps (the kind you use with paper) to hold them together. Put some
coals on top of the pan. If doing this on a camp stove, instead of a
campfire, use the procedure described above in "baking on a camp stove".

Muffin pan oven. Take a metal muffin pan, and either grease the cups or
line them with cupcake liners. Put different foods into the cups --
meats, vegetables, biscuits of muffin batter. Oil the second pan, fit it
over the first and clamp them together using four big clamps (the kind
you use for paper). Cook for 25 to 35 minutes. This can be used over a
campfire; put some coals on top of the muffin pan as well as underneath.
If you are doing this over a camp stove, use the procedure described
above in "baking on a camp stove".

Monday, March 26, 2012

Family Food Security P2


The traditional practice of groups such as the Mormons, who practice
food storage as a religious and cultural discipline, is to store basic
foods such as whole grains, beans, and dried milk. Such food products
are widely available, and can be easily stored for long periods of time.
For most people, however, storing these products will require dietary
changes. They will need to increase the amount of grains, beans, and
vegetables in their diets, and decrease the amounts of meat. If you
decide to change your diet, start introducing whole foods cooking
gradually to allow your family time to learn to enjoy the new foods.

Cooking from whole foods is what your grandmother used to do, and who
can forget the tremendous holiday meals at Grandma's? With practice,
whole foods cooking can be as convenient as anything frozen in a
cardboard box, especially since you don't have to make a special trip to
the store to get it.

If the store isn't busy, for me to get in my car, go to the store, make
my selection, stand in line, buy the frozen dinner, go back home --
figure that time at your hourly wage, and see how expensive that frozen
dinner really is. If you've stocked your pantry properly, you can get by
with as few as two trips to the store each month, and how much time
would that save you, remembering how often these days that "time is
money"? Not to mention, that time in the store is not quality time
you're spending with your family. Maybe you are the one American family
without a time crunch, and if so, congratulations, but the rest of us
could use some extra hours every month, and stocking your pantry with a
couple of months of basic food supplies is one way to do that.

As an added bonus, you save money. When something is on sale, you can
buy a lot of it without busting your grocery budget. Going to the
grocery store is often like roulette, meat may be cheap, but canned
goods have gone sky high. There's a sale on sugar, but look at the price
of milk. You don't have to be hostage to the pricing strategy of your
local grocer. Even if you are poor, you can insulate yourself from the
vagaries of that marketplace by always being in a position to serve
dinner, even if you don't go to the store for a couple of weeks.

If canned goods are high and meat is low, you can buy meat, and get your
canned goods next week when they have gone down in price but meat has
gone up. You already have the meat, so you don't have to buy it when it
is expensive. Effectively, this is a decision to keep some of your
family's savings in the form of durable goods -- which is to say,
groceries in the cupboard -- and this investment actually earns you
interest and dividends in the form of better deals on the groceries you
buy. You are going to spend money anyway, might as well get maximum
value for your money -- in terms of saving you time and money. For most
people, spending less money on groceries and having more time with their
families would add up to "a better quality of life, and more family se
curity".

So you can see why the corporate grocery industry has a vested interest
in discouraging this practical and frugal household management practice.
Irrespective of Y2k, it is a good idea for the consumer, but grocers
don't like it because they're making money with their volatile price
swings and high profits.

The basic whole foods diet is detailed in the USDA Food Pyramid chart,
which shows the number of recommended daily servings of each of the
major food groups. Switching to a whole foods diet certainly doesn't
mean giving up your appreciation of fine foods. Including these items in
your diet has very real and health and quality of life benefits. So even
if hard times come, you can enjoy arroz con pollo, pizza, chocolate
cake, polenta, red beans and rice, fresh tortillas and homemade salsa,
or any of the thousands of other tasty and nutritious meals that can be
made from stored grains, beans, and vegetables. If there are no hard
times, you can still enjoy the good nutritious food, and save time.

The advice often mentioned by the United States government is 2 or 3
days worth of food, but this recommendation is an unwise holdover from
contingency plans for localized disasters, and also a reflection on how
far we have departed from traditional frugality. Generally, the Red
Cross and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) figure that in most
disasters, within 3 days they will be set up throughout the affected
area, ready, willing, and able to distribute food or other supplies as
needed. Thus, their concept is something to tide you over until the
cavalry arrives.

However, Y2K is not a normal emergency. It happens everywhere at once --
but the Red Cross and FEMA can't be "everywhere at once". Neither can
anybody else.

In the context of disaster preparations -- and perhaps as a start to a
better and more frugal household management practice -- buy more food
than you think you will need, and for a longer period than two weeks.
Food is a consumable item, everything you buy is something that you can
eat in good times or bad times. If Y2K turns out to be a false alarm
rather than a crisis, you've saved yourself time and money in the year
2000, because you have already bought most of the groceries you'll need
for the first few months of the year. You can use that time and money
for something else, like taking the family on a vacation. Alternatively,
you can donate the excess groceries to a food pantry that helps the
poor, and write it off as a tax deduction. Any way you look at it, money
that you spend on food now is money in the bank.

Start with your local sources. This may include various grocery stores,
large discount/membership stores, farmers markets, feed stores, there
are many possible options.

An excellent idea is to develop a direct buying relationship with one or
more farmers. This will be especially useful if you preserve some of
your food yourself (drying, smoking, or canning), or if the farmer or
cooperative does some processing. These skills help you ensure a high
quality product. Make such contacts at farmers markets, or through your
county extension agent or food circle. If international and national
food distribution systems break down, having a relationship with a
farmer in your area could be very important. Small farmers and
cooperatives are good sources for items such as salt cured country hams
that keep without refrigeration.

Support the opening of a "community canning kitchen" in your area, by a
cooperative of producers, or by a non-profit group such as a church or
civic club. This would provide opportunities both to help families
preserve their own produce, and also to give small market gardeners or
microenterprises opportunities to process foods in a health department
approved process.

Since cooking and eating is crucial to your survival, don't be dependent
upon only one form of energy, such as gas or electricity, for food
preparation. Have one or more of these alternatives on hand for
emergencies, or use some of them (as appropriate) for saving money on
energy costs right now.

Family Food Security P2


The traditional practice of groups such as the Mormons, who practice
food storage as a religious and cultural discipline, is to store basic
foods such as whole grains, beans, and dried milk. Such food products
are widely available, and can be easily stored for long periods of time.
For most people, however, storing these products will require dietary
changes. They will need to increase the amount of grains, beans, and
vegetables in their diets, and decrease the amounts of meat. If you
decide to change your diet, start introducing whole foods cooking
gradually to allow your family time to learn to enjoy the new foods.

Cooking from whole foods is what your grandmother used to do, and who
can forget the tremendous holiday meals at Grandma's? With practice,
whole foods cooking can be as convenient as anything frozen in a
cardboard box, especially since you don't have to make a special trip to
the store to get it.

If the store isn't busy, for me to get in my car, go to the store, make
my selection, stand in line, buy the frozen dinner, go back home --
figure that time at your hourly wage, and see how expensive that frozen
dinner really is. If you've stocked your pantry properly, you can get by
with as few as two trips to the store each month, and how much time
would that save you, remembering how often these days that "time is
money"? Not to mention, that time in the store is not quality time
you're spending with your family. Maybe you are the one American family
without a time crunch, and if so, congratulations, but the rest of us
could use some extra hours every month, and stocking your pantry with a
couple of months of basic food supplies is one way to do that.

As an added bonus, you save money. When something is on sale, you can
buy a lot of it without busting your grocery budget. Going to the
grocery store is often like roulette, meat may be cheap, but canned
goods have gone sky high. There's a sale on sugar, but look at the price
of milk. You don't have to be hostage to the pricing strategy of your
local grocer. Even if you are poor, you can insulate yourself from the
vagaries of that marketplace by always being in a position to serve
dinner, even if you don't go to the store for a couple of weeks.

If canned goods are high and meat is low, you can buy meat, and get your
canned goods next week when they have gone down in price but meat has
gone up. You already have the meat, so you don't have to buy it when it
is expensive. Effectively, this is a decision to keep some of your
family's savings in the form of durable goods -- which is to say,
groceries in the cupboard -- and this investment actually earns you
interest and dividends in the form of better deals on the groceries you
buy. You are going to spend money anyway, might as well get maximum
value for your money -- in terms of saving you time and money. For most
people, spending less money on groceries and having more time with their
families would add up to "a better quality of life, and more family se
curity".

So you can see why the corporate grocery industry has a vested interest
in discouraging this practical and frugal household management practice.
Irrespective of Y2k, it is a good idea for the consumer, but grocers
don't like it because they're making money with their volatile price
swings and high profits.

The basic whole foods diet is detailed in the USDA Food Pyramid chart,
which shows the number of recommended daily servings of each of the
major food groups. Switching to a whole foods diet certainly doesn't
mean giving up your appreciation of fine foods. Including these items in
your diet has very real and health and quality of life benefits. So even
if hard times come, you can enjoy arroz con pollo, pizza, chocolate
cake, polenta, red beans and rice, fresh tortillas and homemade salsa,
or any of the thousands of other tasty and nutritious meals that can be
made from stored grains, beans, and vegetables. If there are no hard
times, you can still enjoy the good nutritious food, and save time.

The advice often mentioned by the United States government is 2 or 3
days worth of food, but this recommendation is an unwise holdover from
contingency plans for localized disasters, and also a reflection on how
far we have departed from traditional frugality. Generally, the Red
Cross and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) figure that in most
disasters, within 3 days they will be set up throughout the affected
area, ready, willing, and able to distribute food or other supplies as
needed. Thus, their concept is something to tide you over until the
cavalry arrives.

However, Y2K is not a normal emergency. It happens everywhere at once --
but the Red Cross and FEMA can't be "everywhere at once". Neither can
anybody else.

In the context of disaster preparations -- and perhaps as a start to a
better and more frugal household management practice -- buy more food
than you think you will need, and for a longer period than two weeks.
Food is a consumable item, everything you buy is something that you can
eat in good times or bad times. If Y2K turns out to be a false alarm
rather than a crisis, you've saved yourself time and money in the year
2000, because you have already bought most of the groceries you'll need
for the first few months of the year. You can use that time and money
for something else, like taking the family on a vacation. Alternatively,
you can donate the excess groceries to a food pantry that helps the
poor, and write it off as a tax deduction. Any way you look at it, money
that you spend on food now is money in the bank.

Start with your local sources. This may include various grocery stores,
large discount/membership stores, farmers markets, feed stores, there
are many possible options.

An excellent idea is to develop a direct buying relationship with one or
more farmers. This will be especially useful if you preserve some of
your food yourself (drying, smoking, or canning), or if the farmer or
cooperative does some processing. These skills help you ensure a high
quality product. Make such contacts at farmers markets, or through your
county extension agent or food circle. If international and national
food distribution systems break down, having a relationship with a
farmer in your area could be very important. Small farmers and
cooperatives are good sources for items such as salt cured country hams
that keep without refrigeration.

Support the opening of a "community canning kitchen" in your area, by a
cooperative of producers, or by a non-profit group such as a church or
civic club. This would provide opportunities both to help families
preserve their own produce, and also to give small market gardeners or
microenterprises opportunities to process foods in a health department
approved process.

Since cooking and eating is crucial to your survival, don't be dependent
upon only one form of energy, such as gas or electricity, for food
preparation. Have one or more of these alternatives on hand for
emergencies, or use some of them (as appropriate) for saving money on
energy costs right now.